I’m so thrilled to be here at Book Reviews & More by Kathy and a HUGE shout out to Kathy for hosting me today! I am beyond thrilled that book one in my brand new DIRTY MONEY series, HARD RULES, is available! This series is so different for me and I’m shaking in my proverbial boots to see what my readers think of it.
So, if you’re a reader of mine you may be asking HOW is it different, and my answer can give a little insight if you’re new to my books as well. It’s not so much that it is worlds away from my norm of sexy, suspenseful writing. HARD RULES definitely still has the edgy, mystery and steam to it that my readers are used to, but this book took me to darker places while writing it. The basis is two brothers: one good, one evil (a Cain and Abel of sorts) fighting over control of the corporate family empire. But in the mix of them fighting within Brandon Enterprises, is this intense love affair that Shane (the good brother) sparks up with Emily. Now, Emily has secrets of her own, they’re what brought her to Denver in the first place, and thus to Shane. And while both of them are individually dealing with right or wrong, and fight or flight, together they’re undeniably attracted and consumed by one another. All the while, Shane’s brother, Derek, is dead set on pulling this company into ruin and in bed with a drug cartel. Thus Emily becomes Shane’s solace and light, in the dark and muddy waters that he’s going through to save the company from Derek’s corrupt efforts.
Overall, this series is much darker, and grittier. These characters go to the brink, and some go to the abyss. But what is dark about Shane’s family and company, and Emily’s secrets, is the antithesis in their relationship. That’s how I evened the playing field. Yes, these two have some intense and gut-wrenching scenes, but they also have a levity to them that the rest of the book doesn’t. So I thought I would share with you my all-time favorite scene from book one that, to me, captures that levity… The Lipstick Scene.
My order appears and I straighten, intending to claim my coffee and find a seat, when a pretty twenty-something brunette races forward in a puff of sweet, floral-scented perfume, and grabs it.
“Miss,” I begin, “that’s—”
She takes a sip and grimaces. “What is this?” She turns to the counter. “Excuse me,” she calls out. “My drink is wrong.”
“Because it’s not your drink,” Karen reprimands her, setting a new cup on the counter. “This is your drink.” She reaches for my cup and turns it around, pointing to the name scribbled on the side. “This one’s for Shane.” She glances at me. “I’ll be right back to fix this. I have another customer.”
I wave my acknowledgment and she hurries away, while my floral-scented coffee thief faces me, her porcelain cheeks flushed, her full, really damn distracting mouth, painted pink. “I’m so sorry,” she offers quickly. “I thought I was the only one without my coffee and I was in a hurry.” She starts to hand me my coffee and then quickly sets it on the counter. “You can’t have that. I drank out of it.”
“I saw that,” I say, picking it up. “You grimaced with disgust after trying it.”
Her eyes, a pale blue that matches the short-sleeved silk blouse, go wide. “Oh. I mean no. Or I did, but not because it’s a bad cup of coffee. It’s just very strong.”
“It’s a triple-shot latte.”
“A triple,” she says, looking quite serious. “Did you know that in some third- world countries they bottle that stuff and sell it as a way to grow hair on your chest.” She lowers her voice and whispers, “That’s not a good look for me.”
“Fortunately,” I say in the midst of a chuckle I would have claimed wasn’t possible five minutes ago, “I don’t share that dilemma.” I lift my cup and add, “Cheers,” before taking a drink, the heavy, rich flavor sliding over my tongue.
She pales, looking exceedingly uncomfortable, before repeating, “I drank from that cup.”
“I know,” I say, offering it back to her. “Try another drink.”
She takes the cup and sets it on the counter. “I can’t drink that. And you can’t either.” She points to the hole on top, now smudged pink. “My lipstick is all over it and I really hate to tell you this but it’s all over you too and . . .” She laughs, a soft, sexy sound, her hands settling on her slender, but curvy hips, accented by a fitted black skirt. “Sorry. I don’t mean to laugh, but it’s not a good shade for you.”
I laugh now too, officially and impossibly charmed by this woman in spite of being in the middle of what feels like World War III. “Seems you know how to make a lasting impression.”
“Thankfully it’s not lasting,” she says. “It’ll wipe right off. And thank you for being such a good sport. I really am sorry again for all of this.”
“Apologize by getting it off me.”
Confusion puckers her brow. “What?”
“You put it on me.” I grab a napkin from the counter and offer it to her. “You get it off.”
“I put it on the cup,” she says, clearly recovering her quick wit. “You put it on you.”
“I assure you, that had I put it on me, we both would have enjoyed it much more than we are now.” I glance at the napkin.
“Are you going to help me?”
Her cheeks flush and she hugs herself, her sudden shyness an intriguing contrast to her confident banter. “I’ll let you know if you don’t get it all.”
My apparently lipstick- stained lips curve at her quick wit but I take the napkin and wipe my mouth, arching a questioning brow when I’m done. She points to the corner of my mouth. “A little more on the left.”
I hand her the napkin. “You do it.”
She inhales, as if for courage, but takes it. “Fine,” she says, stepping closer, that wicked sweet scent of hers teasing my nostrils. Wasting no time, she reaches for my mouth, her body swaying in my direction while my hand itches to settle at her waist. I want this woman and I’m not letting her get away.
“There,” she says, her arm lowering, and not about to let her escape, I capture her hand, holding it and the napkin between us.
Those gorgeous pale blue eyes of hers dart to mine, wide with surprise, the connection sparking an unmistakable charge between us…
I hope that little tidbit might have enticed you to give HARD RULES a try! Thank you so much for visiting and be sure to check out the giveaway Kathy has going on for a prize pack from me!
Lisa Renee Jones
Title: Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones
Dirty Money Series Book One
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 302 pages
Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Hard Rules, the smoldering, scorching first novel in the explosively sexy new Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.
How bad do you want it?
The only man within the Brandon empire with a moral compass, Shane Brandon is ready to take his family’s business dealings legitimate. His reckless and ruthless brother, Derek wants to keep Brandon Enterprises cemented in lies, deceit, and corruption. But the harder Shane fights to pull the company back into the light, the darker he has to become. Then he meets Emily Stevens, a woman who not only stirs a voracious sexual need in him, but becomes the only thing anchoring him between good and evil.
Emily is consumed by Shane, pushed sexually in ways she never dreamed of, falling deeper into the all-encompassing passion that is this man. She trusts him. He trusts her, but therein lies the danger. Emily has a secret, the very thing that brought her to him in the first place, and that secret that could that destroy them both.
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Lisa Renee Jones is giving away a prize pack to ONE lucky winner! The prize pack contains: a surprise signed book, whiskey glass, paintbrush pen, signed postcard, and a lotion.
To enter today’s contest, please watch Lisa’s book trailer (above). LOVE the trailer? Please share it with your friends! Leave a comment (even if you didn’t share) then fill out the form below by 5 PM Mountain Friday August 12th (Please note: Contest Open to US/CA Addresses ONLY):